A 24-year-old male student at Cal State Fullerton was sent to St. Jude Medical Center for evaluation Saturday after notifying University Police at around 1 p.m. about a chemical smell released from an experiment he had been working on in the Dan Black Hall building.
First responders to the hazmat incident helped evacuate about 50 people from the building, including students, faculty and staff, and a hazmat team proceeded to take samples where the incident was reported, said Kathy Schaefer, Fullerton fire marshal and division chief of administration.
EMERGENCY: DAN BLACK HALL Evacuation in progress due to Chemical Spill – Fire on Scene @csuf
— CSU Fullerton PD (@csufpd) September 8, 2018
The student, who was located in room 143 of the building, was conducting a weeklong experiment involving yeast and milk. After observing that the mixture had turned black, the student placed the experiment into an autoclave, Schaefer said. An autoclave is a machine used to sterilize harmful bacteria using high temperatures and pressure.
“Once it was in the autoclave, once it was done, he opened it up and smelled some chlorine and then evacuated right after that,” Schaefer said.
Exposure to a high concentration of chlorine gas can pose certain health risks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The student did not experience dizziness or shortness of breath on scene and did not remember if he shut the autoclave upon evacuating, Schaefer said.
Some of those who were in Dan Black Hall at the time of the evacuation, reported seeing flashing lights from the fire alarm but did not hear any alarm sounds.
“We were in the building for several minutes after the fire alarm went off because we thought they might just be testing the lights. There was no alarm sound, there was just the light,” said Danielle Zacherl, a biology professor. “Typically you would hear a sound with the …